As the political community mourns the loss of state Sen. Jose Peralta, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat has a big request for the rest of Albany’s lawmakers — name the state Dream Act in Peralta’s memory.
“It was my privilege as a fellow Dominican-American to serve with Sen. Jose R. Peralta, who was an honorable steward of the public trust and tireless representative for communities in Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside,” Espaillat said, in a release. “As a main sponsor of the New York state Dream Act, Sen. Peralta believed wholeheartedly that we each have an obligation to ensure equal opportunities for the advancement of all persons. Renaming the New York state Dream Act in his honor would be a fitting tribute to his legacy and the work that will continue for generations to come.”
The request was sent by letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as state Democratic leaders Carl Heastie in the Assembly and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who is expected to become the next senate president.
The state Dream Act would reverse a law that denies financial aid for undocumented students looking for education beyond high school. The Dream Act would create a path to receiving such aid, similar to everyone else.
A former Queens Assemblyman, Peralta was first elected to the state senate in 2010. He created controversy early, however, when he joined the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats led by local senator Jeffrey Klein, that caucused with Republicans. Although the IDC officially dissolved earlier this year, a number of former members of the splinter group were knocked out of the senate in primaries, including both Klein and Peralta.
Although Klein disappeared the moment Alessandra Biaggi claimed victory in her primary against him, Peralta reportedly did the exact opposite — working with this constituents and maintaining a public presence up to his death Nov. 21. He was 47.
Medical examiners determined Peralta died from sepsis, according to published reports, although it’s not clear what the infection may have been from that caused his organs to shut down.
State leaders celebrated the recent news that one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon, would locate one of its new headquarters in Long Island City. But not everyone was excited about it.
Alessandra Biaggi, who defeated Jeffrey Klein last September to join the state senate, said Amazon should come for the city’s skilled labor, not for tax incentives.
“Government’s job should not be trying to bribe individual companies with subsidies, but making the investments only government can make to ensure New York is the place where companies and skilled workers want and need to be.”